Castle Field to provide refuge for Brent Geese

A large area of Southsea's Castle Field will be fenced from October 2020 until the end of March 2021 in order to create a bird refuge site for the internationally-protected Brent Goose species. The geese are often seen in Portsmouth during winter months, when they migrate from Siberia to feed and roost. The securing of this area is required to offset the use of Clarence Playing Field as a works compound area for the duration of the Southsea Coastal Scheme. Councillor Steve Pitt, Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council and Cabinet Member for Culture and City Development said: "Castle Field has been identified as the site for the refuge area, after consultation with Natural England, who required the alternative provision for the over-wintering birds. "The area will be used over the winter months until the completion of Southsea's coastal defences' project in 2026. "The geese are a well-known feature of Southsea and we are required to make alternative provision for them. "I understand there will be some inconvenience to the public, but the usual removal of restrictions to dogs on the beach and the remaining open spaces on our seafront will mean there is still plenty of space for all to enjoy." During preparation works, decoys and audio devices will be placed within the refuge site to encourage Brent Geese to use the area. An ecologist will undertake monitoring of the site at regular intervals to understand how the geese are using the site. This information will be shared with Natural England. At a cost of more than £100 million, the Southsea Coastal Scheme is the UK's largest ever local authority-led coastal defences' project, and will help to reduce the risk of flooding to more than 8,000 homes and 700 businesses. The Scheme is committed to keeping inconvenience to residents and visitors to a minimum during the construction phases, with advance notice of works being provided throughout the project.